When Lina Hidalgo was elected on November 6, 2018, at the age of 27, she was the first woman and first Latina to be elected County Judge and only the second to be elected to the Commissioners Court.
Many were skeptical about how a progressive Democrat without previous political experience would handle the top executive position of the largest county in Texas – the third largest county in the United States – that oversees a budget of almost $5 billion and affects the lives of over 4.7 million people.
Now, Lina’s accomplishments speak for themselves.
In a county with a population larger than 26 other states, Lina is bringing government back to the people.She is taking steps to make government proactive, instead of reactive, and developed innovative policies -- in disaster recovery, bail reform, and voting access, for example -- that are already becoming national best practices. She has opened the doors to bring transparency and accountability to what used to be a behind-closed-doors process.
Lina’s academic background, and experiences working and living in diverse communities at home and abroad inform how she makes decisions. She wants goals and metrics in place so that decisions are made thoughtfully. She wants her tenure to have a vision, a masterplan, so that Harris County residents can see the direction their government is taking them. She does not believe things should be done a certain way simply because that’s the way they’ve always been done, and she’s not afraid to ask tough questions.
When an emergency arises, Judge Hidalgo doesn’t make decisions based on political expediency. Rather, she looks at the data available, talks to the experts, and makes decisions based on what would help the most people, especially those most vulnerable.
Lina Hidalgo is a leader with a strong, progressive vision who is making a difference for the residents of Harris County.
Lina Hidalgo was raised in an immigrant family. She was born in Colombia, when the drug war still raged and everyone knew someone who had been kidnapped. Her parents had two goals: to make sure she had a good education and to get the family to a safer place. Lina grew up in Peru and Mexico, where her parents were offered job opportunities, before emigrating to America in 2005. Lina is a proud product of Houston-area public schools and, as her parents dreamed, was the first in her family to attend college in the U.S. She graduated from Stanford University with a degree in political science the same year she became a U.S. citizen. Since arriving in Texas, Lina has been committed to giving back.
Before running for office, Lina dedicated hundreds of hours to our county’s most vulnerable communities—from her time at the Texas Civil Rights Project to serving as a Spanish-English medical interpreter at the Texas Medical Center and supporting immigrants in search of lost loved ones. While pursuing a joint degree in law and public policy at NYU and Harvard, Lina conducted research on criminal justice policies and coordinated with advocacy groups and governments to push for criminal justice reform. Before that, Lina worked throughout Southeast Asia to promote transparency and accountability by supporting journalists, bloggers and artists.
Judge Lina Hidalgo’s leadership has been recognized through numerous awards and national honors. She received the prestigious John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award for her swift response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and was recognized with the Jack Brooks Foundation Leadership Award for her work to protect voting rights and access to the ballot box. Judge Hidalgo has also been named to the TIME Magazine 100 Next list as well as Forbes 30 Under 30.